2023 CABS Blues Brawl


Entries ARE NOW being accepted!

If you are interested in entering, read thru this page and submit the preliminary entry form.

You can see the Application, Rules, and Info below.

If you want to attend and hear the return of great blues music to Lansing, visit our Calendar page or follow this link:

Facebook Event

To enter the CABS Blues Brawl:

1) Fill in and submit the online preliminary application form below.  We will then send you a complete application and rules/info document.  NOTE:  the deadline for all applications is May 1st, 2023.   This is irregardless of when you submit a preliminary application.

2) If step 1 doesn’t seem to be working for you, email us at cabsblues@gmail.com and we’ll send you the application and rules info.

Be sure to read the copy of the rules near the bottom of this page so you know what you’re getting into by entering!


15 + 4 =

The Capital Area Blues Society 2023 Blues Brawl Rules & Details

The National Competition: The 2024 International Blues Challenge will be the 38th year of Blues musicians from around the world competing for cash, prizes and industry recognition. The Blues Foundation will present the next Challenge January 16-20, 2024 in Memphis Tennessee. The world’s largest gathering of Blues acts represents an international search by the Blues Foundation and its affiliated organizations for the Blues Band and Solo / Duo Blues Act ready to take their act to the international stage. National winners receive cool stuff and LOTS of attention: studio time, prime spots in Festivals and clubs around the country. See a complete listing of national prizes, rules and additional information at the National Blues Foundation website: www.blues.org/ibc

The Capital Area Blues Society Competition: The 2023 CABS Blues Brawl takes place on Sunday, MAY 21, 2023, 4 pm to 8 pm, at the Green Door Blues Bar and Grill, 2005 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, Michigan, 517.482.6376, www.greendoorlive.com. One band, and one solo / duo act will be named winners and represent CABS and Mid Michigan at the 2022 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. As a Blues Foundation affiliate, the Capital Area Blues Society (CABS) follows the national format for our local competition to select our representative. Applications are due to CABS by Sept. 30, 2021

Eligibility and Rules

  1. Acts must have at least one band member who lives in Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Ionia, Barry, Calhoun, Jackson, Washtenaw, Livingston, Genesee, Saginaw, Gratiot, Montcalm, Kent or Shiawassee counties.
  2. Winners from the previous competition, along with any act that has gone to the IBC three times or won the IBC, are ineligible to enter.
  3. Bands are defined as having 3 or more musicians; solo/duo acts are defined as one or two musicians with vocalists counted as musicians in all categories.
  4. An individual may not compete in more than one act in any capacity.
  5. No act may include a board member of any Blues Foundation affiliated society.

Selected Entrants: CABS will notify all acts of selection and performance order (selected randomly) after mAY 10, 2023.  All selected acts must be a member of CABS prior to competition. Join CABS at  www.capitalareablues.org · All selected acts must be present and registered at the venue no later than 60 minutes before their scheduled start time.  All selected acts will receive 10 minutes set-up time and 20 minutes playing time to showcase their talents. · Please bring your set list and indicate whether a song is an original or a cover.

Selected Acts agree that if they win, they will:

  1. Appear at ONE CABS-sponsored fundraiser in the calendar year following the Brawl. This will most likely be on Sunday Jan. 7, 2024, just before the IBC.
  2. Represent CABS at the 2023 International Blues Challenge January 16-20, 2024 – in Memphis, Tennessee.

Be sure that you WILL and ARE ABLE to attend (think of the $$ required and time off your day job) the 2024 International Blues Challenge from January 16-20, 2024 in Memphis Tennessee. DON’T APPLY IF YOU CAN NOT COMMIT TO THE TIME, OR CAN NOT AFFORD TO GO TO MEMPHIS!!

Criteria for Judging: CABS will use the IBC scoring parameters:

  1. Blues Content – play the blues and leave Mustang Sally at home.
  2. Instrumental Talent – the act’s instrumental skills.
  3. Vocal Talent – singing/vocalizing abilities and talents.
  4. Originality – original work is strongly encouraged!
  5. Stage Presence/Showmanship – how marketable are you? Professional? Get inspired and give us all ya’ got!

All 2023 Band and Solo/Duo Participants receive a complimentary Green Door meal voucher for each Member (max 6), redeemable on the day of the Brawl (does not include alcohol).

2023 CABS Blues Brawl WINNERS (One Band and One Solo/Duo) receive: ·

  • The title of 2023 CABS Blues Brawl Winner
  • Selection as CABS representative to the 2024 International Blues Challenge. ·
  • Paid performance slot at a future Mid Michigan Blues Festival or Concert.
  • Band: $1000 donation.* ·
  • Solo/Duo: $400 donation.*

*To be used exclusively for IBC travel expenses, paid immediately prior to the IBC trip to Memphis.

Note: It is estimated that the cost of attending the IBC in Memphis can be as much as $3000, depending on the number of band members, whether you fly or drive, where you stay, etc. Please consider that your act will need to budget its own time and funds to attend should you win.  If you choose to use crowdfunding (kickstarter) or a similar method, CABS will of course support you. 

Applications – Due by MAY 1, 2023:

  1. Fill out the application – make sure we can find you! The application can be obtained by submitting a request at our website or by emailing us at cabsblues@gmail.com and requesting an application.
  2. Include a band bio and one digital photo. Your application is not complete without it. Press kits and additional digital photos are also welcome.
  3. Send the form by 5:00 pm EST, MAY 1, 2023. Your actual signature will be collected on the form at the Brawl venue before your performance.

CABS will notify all bands of selection and order of performance shortly after May 10, 2023

If you have any questions regarding the application, regulations, or event, contact Smitty via email at cabsblues@gmail.com. Alternate contact is Anita McDaniel at 517-643-7865